Over the last Few Years, WE HAVE LED THE EFFORT TO CHANGE FEDS FOR THE BETTER — BRINGING YOUR STUDENT UNION CLOSER TO YOU. WE SPONSORED MAJOR REFORMS GOING ON NOW!
We got involved in Feds to increase transparency and accountability of decision making by our student union and the University. We believe in accountability and informed engagement. You should always know what Feds is doing for you; what motions Council passes, what major business decisions the Board is considering; what events and services the student union is planning; and what University policies are going to impact you (eg. reforms to Policy 42, Prevention and Response to Sexual Violence). As Representatives, Directors, and Society leaders we have fought for your interests and worked to keep you in the loop. Help us keep Feds and UW accountable and financially responsible! Vote for Team Ignite at vote.feds.ca!
What We've Achieved
Reverting aspects of the recent tuition, OSAP, and ancillary fee changes — We have worked to appropriate funds for lobbying the provincial government to revert changes to OSAP as well as support OUSA efforts to blunt the impact of ancillary fee opt-out effecting services students rely on (like the Feds-GRT UPass).
Conducting a Referendum on Legal Protection Service — We led the way in pushing for the legal protection service referendum for academic grievances/appeals, protection against predatory property management firms, and support in employment and control disputes with co-op employers. We are excited to see this go to referendum and will be voting YES!
We also supported the proposed UW Tenancy Association to protect students against abusive landlords and helped identify how legal protection service would play a complementary role.
Student engagement on campus — We participated in roundtable discussions and long-range planning feedback sessions with the University to emphasize the importance of student opinion and the value of democratic engagement. Here we provided our recommendations for how to better engage students.
Revamped Student Space rules— Improving policies to increase study, recreational, and social spaces on campus to align with benchmarks set by Council of Ontario Universities. We have lobbied the University for increased student study and social spaces on campus.
Protesting CECA's increase in fees during the Deep-Dive investigation in 2018 — We drafted a motion that passed the Feds' Council unanimously, protesting the 2.8% salary-based CECA fee increase, criticizing the lack of transparency involved in the process, and requesting the Provost postpone the increase until after transparent finances are disclosed by CECA. You can read Feds' full statement here, authored by our team members!
Co-op Deep Dive — We participated in the Feds-Co-op Deep Dive on the Student Advisory Panel to review current practices, recommend new fee increase protocols, and determine how to revamp the co-op fee!
Online Voting for Future Feds GMs (F'17) — General Meetings are the most powerful tool to ratify changes to Federation of Students (FEDS), yet only <1% of students make decisions for more than 34,000. This is inherently undemocratic and leads to a lack in accountable governance. We have all missed a GM before, be it for part-time work, co-op terms, late classes/labs, or other priorities.We authored a motion requiring Feds to implement online voting.
We have helped guide this process and hope to see it implemented in the future!
Increasing Public Information in Feds — We wrote the Freedom of Information & Secrecy in Corporate Governance Policy to limit the use of confidentiality and expand your right to know!
Supported indigenous students on campus — voted in favour of policies to better support indigenous students on campus and have begun work on an indigenous affairs select committee.
Student Mental Health — As part of the Student Services panel of President Hamdullahpur's Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health (PAC-SMH) we worked to determine current services available to students and barriers to their use to improve access to mental health resources and support at UWaterloo. We provided a comprehensive list of recommendations to the University to improve health and wellness on campus.
We have continued to serve on the Committee for Student Mental Health (CoSMH), helping implement those recommendations!
On Students’ Council we recommended the University adopt the Okanagan Charter for health promotion, athleticism, and wellness.
Making Feds Board of Directors more accessible — Together with Engineering Councillor Jason Small we implemented the first online Director-application process to bring the Feds Board of Directors into the 21st Century. This policy allows for online applications to become a Feds Director, opening up the opportunity for Co-op, Part-Time, Satellite Campus Students to become Directors for the Federation of Students.
Financial Transparency — We have advocated and supported many changes to make Feds more financially transparent:
We supported making the Marketing & Communications Department Budget public.
We wrote new budget procedures for Feds that requires all budgets to be developed and vetted by the elected student Budget & Appropriations Committee before they can be approved.
We wrote the new Value-for-Money Policy which requires Feds to be able to demonstrate good value-for-money for expenditure of student fees.
We continue to push for publishing clear budget bottom-lines for commercial operations and increasing accountability of commercial operations to members.
Task Force on GM Engagement & Student Council Reforms — We have worked as part of a committee of councillors, directors, and students-at-large to reform General Meetings, which suffer from declining engagement, and to strengthen representative elected democracy.
Cognizant of Challenges Faced by International Students — Arranged a meaningful round-table discussion about the pressures faced by international students on UW Campus with MPP Han Dong.
Developed a Board Annual Planning process — We pushed for the Board to implement annual planning to set Feds strategic objectives for the year.
Conducted surveys to gauge interest in online reimbursement systems — Working with former VPOF Brian Schwan, some of our team members conducted surveys to gauge interest in replacing the current cheque request system with online reimbursement
Had fun along the way — Sometimes governance can be a bit stiff. To lighten the mood and bring some quirky fun motions to Feds:
We drafted a motion to make Mr. Goose the official Feds mascot and lobby the University to make a Goose the University mascot.
Protected students’ rights to safe and healthy work places — We raised student concerns about health, safety, and toxic work environments at UW Food Services locations and met with University Administration (Director Lee Elkas & Associate Provost Chris Read) to investigate and fix these problems (read our report here).
Working with Student Societies
Strong Society Lineage and Traditions: Our team has history in each of our constituent societies. From the very beginning of our educations at the University of Waterloo we have considered involvement in the Societies to be crucial for the development of a better student experience. Each Faculty has its own strengths and quirks and we’re excited to build rapport with each unique Society.
Working with the Federation: In our respective Societies, we have continuously advocated for healthy, open relationships with the Federation of Students and have taken steps to that end, including the joint running of events and initiatives and the creation of a Societies General Assembly to come together and discuss problems and solutions - a learning experience for all.
Upholding the Societies Agreement: We advocated for Societies’ rights to fair treatment as enshrined in the Memorandum of Understanding and strove to uphold responsible student government, accountable to the Societies, who represent constituencies within the Federation.